UNICEF Innovation Accelerator to Assist Social Entrepreneurs at Duke


The Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative is launching a one-of-a-kind partnership with UNICEF and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF that leverages Duke’s expertise in social entrepreneurship with UNICEF’s reach and experience addressing the needs of children around the globe.

The new UNICEF Innovation Accelerator at Duke will help selected programs and social entrepreneurs acquire the knowledge, tools and networks needed to achieve maximum impact from their social innovation. The first project for the Accelerator will aim to reduce the approximately 16,000 children under the age of five that die every day  from preventable causes, by using knowledge and technology currently available and applying them on a large scale.

The Accelerator will use the principles and practices of social entrepreneurship, human-centered design, lean start-up and continuous innovation to help inventive talents build and grow their solutions and ultimately save the lives of thousands of children around the world.

Selwyn Rayzor, a Duke alumna and founding chair and board member of the Great Plains Regional Board for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, was the visionary force behind creating this partnership, seeing the problem-solving potential in this unique alliance.

“This dynamic partnership will no doubt improve the lives of children across the globe by creating innovative and sustainable solutions that enhance UNICEF’s lifesaving work,” Rayzor said.

“Duke has a long and rich tradition of social entrepreneurship, beginning with the visionary leadership of Greg Dees. Today, on campus organizations such as the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) and the Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke (SEAD) reflect the vision of Greg’s leadership. Our partnership with UNICEF and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF will allow us continue and to grow that mission, and to increase the practical impact of our work,” said Eric Toone, Vice Provost and Director of Duke I&E.

“UNICEF has put innovative, creative solutions to work for the world’s children for 70 years, and this new partnership is just another example of putting children first,” said Mike Heaton, Regional Director with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. “We look forward to working in partnership with Duke’s experts to develop and scale projects and ideas that will make the world a better place for children to survive and thrive for years to come.”

Originally posted on the Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship website